By Dr. Abner Mality

Pestilence's Patrick Mameli told me during our interview last year that the next Pestilence would considerably up the ante as far as weirdness and technicality goes. "Doctrine" has arrived at last and shows he was telling the truth, but this album leaves a strange taste in my mouth that is not entirely pleasant.

The "comeback" disc "Resurrection Macabre" was an onslaught of fierce brutality reminiscent of the classic "Consuming Impulse". "Doctrine" hearkens more to the surreal weirdness of "Testimony of the Ancients". The riffs are strange, choppy, warped...guitar and bass solos are twisted like sonic taffy, the drums clatter away with all sorts of peculiar time signatures. The over all feeling is very cold and mechanical. Mameli's vocals are much thinner and drier than on "Resurrection Macabre"...they sound like they're coming from somebody being stretched on the Inquisition's racks. It's a pretty unique sound.

The tunes are a mixed bag. I admire the queasy groove of "Salvation",  the creepy crawl of "Dissolve" and the thunderous heaviness of "Absolution", which sounds kind of like "Out of The Body" from "Consuming Impulse". But tracks like "Deception" and "Malignant" just don't register...they sound like faded replicants of past triumphs, without their own identity.  Overall, the album has its strong points but doesn't resonate with me the way "Resurrection Macabre" and past Pestilence classics have. One thing's for sure, though, and that's that you can't mistake these guys for anybody else.